|press release||19 November 2016|
The lower North Island's Wellington Provincial Karting Association (WPKA) Goldstar Series continues to play a key role in the development of the country's karters, hence his decision to back it says new series' sponsor partner Brendon Hart of Manawatu & TRC Toyota.
The KartSport Taranaki club hosts the opening round of the 2016/17 Manawatu & TRC Toyota WPKA Goldstar Series at its Todd Energy Raceway in Waitara on Sunday.
Above: Liam Sceats (#23) leads Louis Sharp (SI) and Logan Manson (16) in a Cadet ROK class in last year's series (pic - Fast Company/Vicky Jack)
Hart, a keen karter in his own right, says the series provides an important first step for club level karters keen to spread their wings while also giving top level competitors a place to showcase their talents before a move to cars for some.
"It’s a really, really good series because of the pathways it creates, you only have to look at the likes of Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley," says Hart. "It’s where they took their first tentative steps from club to Island and National level competition. We're seeing it again now with second-generation drivers like Ronan Murphy and Zac Stichbury. Many of us still remember Greg and the late Ashley racing the Goldstar Series, now their sons are following suit for the same reasons."
This season's series kicks off this weekend, before a break over the Christmas/New Year period before resuming in the New Year with the second round in Wellington in March, third in Hawke's Bay in May and final stand-alone 'WPKA Championships' event in Palmerston North in June.
WKPA President Chris Rooney says the focus this year is on making the long-running series even more accessible and family-friendly.
As part of that an enterprising young member of the KartSport Manawatu club has organised a series' app so that entrants and family and friends can keep up to date with everything to do with the series.
So far over 60 karters from across the central North Island and as far north as Auckland and south as Christchurch have signed on for the 2016/17 series with more expected in the New Year.
Back as major prize pool sponsors are Supreme Kart Supplies and Engines from New Plymouth and as part of a package with Palmerston North's Gary Douglas Engineers, the winners of both the Cadet ROK and Vortex Mini ROK classes earn entries to a premium karting event in Australia in a Tony Kart.
There will be trophies down to sixth place in each Junior class and third place in each Senior one plus for the first Masters category competitor home in each relevant class at each round as well as a number of other prizes including Hot Laps in a Toyota TR 86 race car and various other merchandise to be distributed at each round.
The strength of the Junior classes at the moment is reflected in the entry with the 19 young karters signed on for the series in Vortex Mini ROK, 15 in Rotax Max Junior and 10 in Cadet ROK.
Above: Rianna O'Meara-Hunt (69) and Maddie Stewart (28) in a Rotax Junior class heat last year (pic - Fast Company/Vicky Jack)
2016/17 Manawatu & TRC Toyota WPKA Goldstar Series
Rnd 1 Nov 20 2016 Todd Energy Raceway Waitara Taranaki
Rnd 2 March 05 2017 George Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Raceway Kaitoke Wellington
Rnd 3 May 07 2017 Chemz Raceway Roy's Hill Hastings Hawke's Bay
Championships round June 04 2017 Manawatu Toyota Raceway Palmerston North Manawatu